5 Ways to Reduce Stress During Your Job Search
With all the ups and downs you’ll experience when looking for a job, you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed. Whether it’s the financial worries associated with unemployment, the distress of seeing your career plans stall, or the anxiety that grips you as you hit “send” on your job application, a job search is one highly stressful endeavor. How can you make it less so? By being as prepared as possible.
Below are five things you can and should do before you start looking for the job of your dreams. If you need help getting your resume ready to send out, check out our professional resume writing services.
1. Craft a clear and concise resume
You don’t have much space on your resume, so it’s important to make everything you include count. Write clearly and concisely, without meaningless fluff or fancy words that you believe make you look smarter—not only does this conserve space, but it also demonstrates your communication skills.
Customize your resume for each job you apply for, drawing on the keywords and requirements in the job description to craft an exquisitely tailored application. Position your most important information at the top to make sure it’s the first thing the hiring manager sees.
Whatever you do, don't skimp on the important details in your resume. Make sure it has all you need to stand out from the competition and increase your chances of getting the attention of a hiring manager. Always include a career summary that highlights your best qualifications and skills, point out specific ways in which you excelled in your previous positions, and share what makes you unique and a good fit for the job. Remember: In today's digital world, it's absolutely vital that you use optimized keywords to get through applicant tracking systems (ATSs).
2. Be familiar with ATSs
Speaking of ATSs, using optimized keywords is critical when you submit your resume online. Many companies use ATS software to process resumes before they even get to a hiring manager, scanning for the same keywords used in the job posting. If a resume doesn’t contain enough relevant keywords, the ATS will toss it out, and your chances of landing that job will be gone.
That’s why you should always read through job descriptions carefully and look for how they define the ideal candidate. It’s not enough to use synonyms—you need to use the exact same words to beat the ATS. Include these keywords in the sections about your work experience, unique skills, accomplishments, and awards. This way, you stand a good chance of getting past the ATS and into the hands of the hiring manager, who will surely be impressed with your finely tailored resume.
3. Know what makes you unique
Is it that you have an advanced degree offering way more than the job requires? Perhaps you are a rock star employee who always exceeds their goals? Maybe you already have a link to the company, whether through knowing an employee there or your previous jobs having somehow connected you to the organization. Share this information in your resume and be as specific as possible as to how your history makes you the ideal candidate.
For example, if you helped move your previous company forward with your leadership skills, share how you did it by saying something like, "In my last job, I was responsible for cutting costs by 5% in Q4. I was then able to double that by nurturing relationships with my team and making everyone feel seen.” The more detail you can provide (concisely), the better—the hiring manager wants to know how you’ll benefit their company. Also, use numbers wherever you can since these lend more credibility to your claims, but stick with percentages because using pure numbers could reveal sensitive information about other companies.
4. Network as much as possible
Just because a job isn't posted doesn't mean it doesn't exist. When one is listed, maybe you know someone who knows someone employed by the company, so start talking. You can really get ahead of the game by making people aware you're on the market and what type of job you're seeking. Maybe they know of an open position that isn’t listed.
Plus, it always helps to have an insider refer you for a job, whether it's someone you know in person or someone you've connected with on LinkedIn. If you can get a recommendation from a person already working for the company, your chances increase dramatically—your connections can be even more important than your skills.
5. Keep your social media platforms professional
It's easy for a recruiter to google your name to see what comes up and browse your social media posts. What will they see when they check your Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram accounts? You have to remember just how public these platforms are, even if you only use them for personal reasons. Since it’s common practice for hiring managers to look up job applicants online, this isn’t something to scoff at.
Go over your posts and make sure they represent you well. It's fine to show your personality, of course, but get rid of any verbiage that might come across as hateful or controversial, for example, opinionated political posts. You’ll also want to delete any questionable photos, such as wild party pictures. Even on your personal social media profiles, employers want to see a relatively professional look. If you don’t want to delete your objectionable pictures and posts, you can adjust the privacy settings on your profile to ensure people outside of your friends list can’t access them.
Get these five things done, and you’ll be less stressed as you go about your job search. Also, remember not to take rejections personally. When you’re competing against hundreds of other qualified candidates, rejection is the norm. It can be deflating to hear “no” again and again, but hang in there—your time will come. If you want to take crafting a resume off your plate, have a look at our professional resume writing services.